EU must not bow to US pressure for weak climate deal in London meeting

Press release - 16 October, 2009
The European Union needs to stand firm and reject US efforts to weaken a climate deal in Copenhagen, said Greenpeace, as the world’s largest emitters gather in London for the US-led Major Economies Forum (MEF) beginning Sunday. (1)

Despite President Obama's repeated promises to lead the fight against climate change, his administration is threatening the possibility of a strong international climate deal that would keep global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius.

"The EU must stand behind its stated goals of saving the climate and reject US attempts to water down the entire agreement to suit its domestic agenda," said Martin Kaiser, Greenpeace International climate political adviser.

 "The EU needs to reaffirm its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol and increase its own reduction targets. With fewer than 50 days until Copenhagen, the planet cannot afford to be sacrificed to the politics of self-interest," he said.

Greenpeace also warned that the MEF process should not be used by the US to point the finger at developing countries to divert attention from its own weak policies.

China, Brazil, India and Indonesia, are among those that, unlike their industrialised counterparts, have made positive moves towards a strong climate deal with more announcements expected. (2)

"Developing countries are taking action - but they need to see the Obama, Merkel, Sarkozy, and other leaders step up and match that with the funding needed to deal with climate change," Kaiser said.

Immediately after the MEF, the EU will meet to decide its Copenhagen position. (3) With its industrialised peers, it must show the MEF they will push for a fair, binding and ambitious deal at Copenhagen that includes:

•    Emissions cuts of at least 40% by 2020 at 1990 levels from the developed world;

•   Developing countries reduce projected emissions growth by 15-30% by 2020, with support from industrialised countries;

•    An end to tropical deforestation by 2020;

•    At least US$140 billion annually from industrialised countries to support adaptation; mitigation and forest protection in the developing world.

Other contacts:

Beth Herzfeld, Greenpeace International communications, tel: +44 (0)7717 802 891

Martin Kaiser, Greenpeace International climate political adviser, tel: +49 1718 780 817

Notes: (1) Ministers of the Environment from the 17 MEF countries are meeting in London from 18-19 October. Member countries are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.

(2) China: Chinese President Hu Jintao unveiled new steps to tackle emissions at the UN Secretary General’s climate summit in September. He said China would "endeavour to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by a notable margin by 2020 from the 2005 level." China has also pledged that the share of its energy to come from renewable energy will be 10% by 2010 and 15% by 2020. See Greenpeace comparison of China/US climate action:

Brazil: At the UN Secretary General’s climate summit in September President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has announced he will reduce the pace of deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest by 80 percent by 2020.

Indonesia: In a speech to G20 leaders in Pittsburgh in September 2009, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said his Government was crafting a policy that would cut emissions by 26 percent by 2020 from "business as usual" levels, and 41% by 2020 with financial help.

India: The Indian Government has promised legislation on fuel efficiency for cars by 2011 and new building efficiency by 2012, to get 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020; and to expand its forest cover. Indian Environment Minister, Ramesh, has proposed India will publish a "national communication" to the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change which would chart the progress of its green action plan.

(3) Immediately after the MEF the EU is holding high-level meetings to decide its position for Copenhagen beginning with 20 October – Finance Ministers; 21 October Environment Ministers and 29-30 EU Heads of State.